Bridgend's Jamie Murphy holds off Bristol's Luke Eves
Bridgend Ravens went down to a clinical but ill-disciplined Bristol as the English side ran out 8-32 winners at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field.
The visitors clinched a bonus point and remain top of Pool 1 and unbeaten in the British & Irish Cup, thanks to tries from Alafoti Fa'Osiliva, George Watkins and two from pacey winger Matt Williams.
Rhys Ward Jones grabbed the late consolation score for the Ravens at the end of a second half that saw referee Kieran Barry hand out four yellow cards.
Bridgend had the better of the opening possession and territory and showed some enterprising play early on but failed to register anything on the scoreboard. As a result of this and somewhat against the run of play, the visitors got the first try of the game when Fa'Osiliva powered his way over the line after a strong driving lineout. Adrian Jarvis converted for the first of his 12 points of the afternoon and suddenly the Ravens found themselves 0-7 down.
Jamie Murphy slotted over a gift of a penalty minutes later to reduce the gap to four points but Jarvis cancelled out his effort and added another three on the half-hour mark. The Ravens' defence showed some great determination minutes later to survive a powerful Bristol drive and ensure that the gap was a manageable 10 points when the half-time whistle arrived.
The gap was distinctly less manageable just seconds into the second period. Bristol scrum half Tom Slater picked up from the base of a ruck and noticed the space on the blind side, accelerating left and presenting the ball to winger Watkins to touchdown in the corner.
The next 10 minutes saw Bridgend pushing to find a way back into the game and forcing Bristol to concede several penalties. Murphy broke through a gap to send a ripple of anticipation through the stand but his support was limited and the Bristol defence soon reorganised to close down the danger. When the resulting scrum broke down, referee Barry lost his patience with the visitors and went to his pocket to send Gaston Cortes to the bin. It was to be the Argentinian's last contribution to the game, as he failed to re-take the field when his 10 minutes were up.
Being reduced to 14 didn't appear to worry the men in red and white as they scored their third try of the match five minutes later. Speedster Williams looked to have aimed for a gap that didn't exist but the winger somehow shrugged his way through and showed a clean pair of heels to cross the whitewash in the corner.
Bristol hooker Rhys Lawrence and Ravens scrum half Tom Habberfield both felt the wrath of the referee with 20 minutes remaining and the extra space again seemed to benefit the English side. The Bristol scrum had looked extremely powerful all afternoon and after winning another against the head, replacement scrum half James Grindal spotted the space that Williams was in and handed him the ball for the winger to secure the bonus point with an exuberant dive in the corner.
Williams would have been forgiven for taking the last 10 minutes easy but when Ravens' winger Luke Morgan sped through a gap and looked certain to score, it was the Bristol number 11 that sprinted from the other side of the pitch to prevent the try.
As the Bridgend forwards worked hard to keep the pressure up, Jack Tovey became the third Bristol player to receive a yellow card but soon afterwards, Ward Jones showed some great skill to restore some pride to the home dressing room.
Bridgend Ravens (3) 8
Try: R Ward Jones Pen: J Murphy
Bristol Rugby (13) 32
Try: A Fa'Osiliva, G Watkins, M Williams 2 Con: A Jarvis 3 Pen: A Jarvis 2
Bridgend Ravens: B Thomas, L Morgan, N Edwards, S Campbell, A Evans, J Murphy, T Habberfield, K Dowding, A James, J Thomas, S O'Rourke, A Jones, A Waite, J Vaughan (c), S Hicks
Subs: C Francis for S O'Rourke (69), G Carpenter for K Dowding (76), L Davies for A Jones (59), A Ellis for A Waite (68), S Winn, R Ward Jones for T Habberfield (74), C Williams for B Thomas (63)
Bristol Rugby: J Tovey, G Watkins, L Eves, B Mosses, M Williams, A Jarvis, T Slater, K Traynor, R Lawrence, G Cortes, B Glynn, G Townson, I Grieve (c), M Mama, A Fa'Osiliva
Subs: T Channon for J Tovey then R Lawrence (59 then 78), M Lilley for K Traynor (69), W Thompson for A Fa'Osiliva then G Cortes (51 then 59), G Biagi for G Townson (57), M Eadie for M Mama (78), J Grindal for T Slater (61), T Roberts for B Mosses (69)
Sin-bin:Bridgend: T Habberfield (60) Bristol: G Cortes (49), R Lawrence (57), J Tovey (78)
Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange is proud of his side's effort in against Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership final and as WRU TV's Liz Jones finds out, he's now looking forward to Wales' Under 20 campaign with confidence.
The countdown to the Junior World Championships starts in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to WRU U20 coaching co-ordinator Allan Lewis and captain Rory Thornton. We speak to the winning teams at SWALEC Finals Day, Wales Sevens manager Steffan Thomas and Wales women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton.
We hear from JPR Williams, Tommy David and all six clubs in SWALEC Finals Day, as well as the first woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium, in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. JPR and David reminisce over the 1979 final, while we hear from Pontypridd, Bridgend, Ystrad Rhondda, Ystradgynlais, Cambrian Welfare and Newcastle Emlyn. Kath Pritchard became the forst Welsh woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium - we speak to her and WRU community referee development officer Paul Adams.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
A look ahead to Judgement Day and back at youth finals day in the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Andrew Coombs, Jake Ball, James Davies, Dan Lydiate and Josh Navidi. We also speak to Wattstown, Ystradgynlais, Rhydfelin, Pontypool United, Penallta and Pontypridd youth coaches at finals day at the Millennium Stadium.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
The Principality Premiership awards and the Wales U20s get ready for the world cup in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from coach of the year, Ebbw Vale's Jason Strange and Wales scrum half Rhys Webb. We also speak to Wales U20s Rory Thornton, Harrison Keddie, Tom Phillips and Geraint Lewis.
Pontypridd claim the Principality Premiership title - we speak to captain Dafydd Lockyer and coach Gareth Wyatt on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We also hear from losing finalists Ebbw Vale and their coach Jason Strange, while Steve Tandy and Dan Baker look ahead to the Ospreys Guinness Pro12 semi-final in Munster and Wales U20 defence coach Richard Hodges talks about the Junior World Championships.
Bargoed gained revenge for their only league loss of the season 25 days earlier by Merthyr as they added the Worthington Mid District Cup at Sardis Road, Pontypridd, to their earlier Championship success with a 39-20 triumph.
Developing the game in Wales and creating a stable and progressive environment for players of the future
Taking the grass roots game out across the length and breadth of the nation, the SWALEC Leagues are the focus of the community rugby in Wales
SSE SWALEC Cup
The SSE SWALEC Cup, Plate and Bowl continue the legacy of the WRU Challenge Cup, culminating in a shot at glory at the Millennium Stadium
Women's Community Rugby embraces both the regional and community club game from Girls' Leagues through to the Women's Premier Division